• 02. Juni 2016
  • 14:16
  • Economy

SMM 2016 Advance Press Conference - Exclusive Insights from Renowned International Experts

The Countdown is on: From 06 to 09 September 2016, SMM, the leading international maritime trade fair, will take place at the Hamburg fair complex. The event is drawing huge interest: More than 2,100 exhibitors have registered, and over 50,000 industry visitors from roughly 100 nations are expected to attend. Similar to the record year 2014, the fair is fully booked months in advance. With the new Hall A5 for “Green Propulsion” and the focus on digitalisation, this year's SMM will be a beacon event for the industry.
The SMM advance press conference in Hamburg on 2 June 2016 gave a foretaste of this major international fair for the maritime industry. Numerous industry journalists from around the world were present as several highly distinguished speakers gave some fascinating insights into current industry trends and revealed some details on this year's fair programme. "We can definitely see today that once again SMM will demonstrate in impressive ways what it means to be the leading international maritime trade fair,” said Bernd Aufderheide, President and CEO of Hamburg Messe und Congress, in his welcoming address. “SMM lends fresh impetus to the industry and delivers clear answers to address its current challenges and developments,” Aufderheide continued.
Digitalisation is the leitmotiv
The theme for this trade fair is Digitalisation. It is the central thread running through all days of the fair. “Green Propulsion” will be another focal topic. The new Hall A5 has been set up to provide 3,500 square metres of additional exhibition area exclusively for highlighting innovative ship propulsion technologies. 
In his keynote address, Martin Stopford, Non-Executive President of Clarksons Research Services, reviewed market developments and trends in the maritime industry. Shipping companies face low freight and charter rates, increased cost pressures and tightening environmental restrictions. In 2016 the shipyards have experienced the lowest newbuilding orders since the 1980s, he pointed out. Despite a 20 percent capacity reduction and closure of over 500 shipyards, ordering levels for new ships are well below world capacity, so shipyards and equipment manufacturers face a challenging year. According to Stopford, one strategy to cope with these difficulties is Smart Shipping. The rapidly evolving information and communications technology (ICT) has enormous potential to improve fleet operations and transport productivity. It will play a crucial part in the survival strategy for shipping, said Stopford.
On the other hand, sophisticated on-board computer technology also raises the risk of cyber disruption, data theft and industrial espionage. Lars Robert Pedersen, Deputy Secretary General of BIMCO, explained during the advance press conference what risks shipowners should expect and how they should defend themselves effectively against cyber-attacks. At the beginning of the year the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), joining hands with other international shipping associations such as the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), published its first cyber security guidelines. "These provide guidance in selecting and applying the necessary procedural and technical means and methods to guard against cyber-attacks and limit the potential damage, should the defences be breached" said Pedersen.
With its global standards for safety, security, environment protection and efficiency, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has, for decades, been providing the regulatory framework that has enabled shipping to operate internationally. In his keynote, IMO spokesperson Lee Adamson referred to the necessity of international regulations that apply equally to all ships, and which do not permit advantage to be gained either by cutting corners or by imposing unilateral requirements.
Michel van Roozendaal, President of MacGregor, a subsidiary of the Finnish supplier Cargotec, offered quite a different perspective. The MacGregor range of products comprises hatch covers, cranes, equipment for RoRo ships and ports, systems for securing cargo, bulk cargo handling equipment for ships and terminals as well as offshore and maritime logistics solutions. Van Roozendaal gave an assessment of the current situation of the shipping industry from the perspective of an internationally-operating company. Whilst pointing out the need for being competitive and agile in an increasingly competitive and very much globalized marketplace, he expressly praised the German industry for its vigorous innovation and custom-tailored solutions. By putting the focus on digitalisation, he said, SMM underscores its technology leadership once again.
A perfect appetizer for the fair
"The presence of such a distinguished panel of experts today highlights the particular importance of SMM for the industry," said Hamburg Messe CEO Aufderheide. "This fair generates ideas and fresh impetus for the maritime industry, and it is a perfect platform for networking, inspiring each other and negotiating down-to-earth business deals. It sends a positive, encouraging signal to the maritime community," he added. “It has been made clear today that the shipping industry must aim high today to be successful tomorrow. This industry has always had its strongest moments when everybody joined forces and embraced innovation. This spirit will be clearly felt at SMM 2016,” Aufderheide emphasised.
Innovative conferences
SMM 2016 will open its doors in just three months: As in previous years, the innovation fair will be accompanied by an attractive supporting programme. Digitalisation will be the underlying theme of all the special events. On 5 September, one day ahead of the opening of SMM, the newly-created conference Maritime Future Summit will see software experts and CEOs of leading manufacturers of ship propulsion systems discussing the consequences of Smart Shipping and Big Data for the shipping industry ofthe future. At gmec – global maritime environmental congress on 6 September the focus will be on Green Shipping and efficiency. MS&D, the international conference on maritime security and defence on 7 September, will revolve around maritime defence and security. In the Offshore Dialogue on 8 September, reputable subject matter experts will discuss the role of the human factor for the protection of safety, health and the environment. On 9 September the Maritime Career Market will top off the programme as a standalone event, offering an ideal job exchange platform and a showcase of maritime education and training options. The new conference booklet is available: www.smm-hamburg.com/conference-brochure.
New digital theme routes
This year the fair organizers are offering a special service to SMM visitors: To help visitors find what they are looking for, several theme-based routes covering specific vendors all over the fair have been designed. Called "Job Route", "Digital Route", "Green Route", and "Security Route", this orientation system can be found in the online product catalogue as well as the SMM app from August 2016. For further Information please visit: www.smm-hamburg.com/en/the-fair/theme-routes/
About SMM

The leading international maritime trade fair takes place in Hamburg every two years. More than 2,100 exhibitors and over 50,000 visitors from around the world are expected to attend the trade fair in the famous port city from 6 to 9 September 2016. SMM covers all segments of the maritime value chain, bringing together decision-makers from around the world and highlighting innovative technology. For further Information please visit: www.smm-hamburg.com.

Press contact

Hamburg Messe und Congress
Lorenz Eichhorn
ph.: +49 40 3569 2439                                    
E-mail: lorenz.eichhorn@hamburg-messe.de